When the Tacoma Defiance take the pitch against Houston Dynamo 2 (7:30 p.m. PT; MLSNEXTPro.com | TICKETS) on Sunday at Starfire Stadium in the Western Conference Semifinal of the MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs, it will be a momentous occasion.
Over the years, the Defiance have been enjoyed plenty of success from a player development perspective. First Team contributors like Nouhou, Alex Roldan, Josh Atencio, Danny Leyva, Obed Vargas and many others all gained invaluable professional experience with Tacoma before breaking into MLS.
From a results perspective, it’s been a different story.
Not since then-S2’s first inaugural season in USL back in 2015 has the club’s second team competed in the postseason. Since then, the Sounders Academy has won three titles (USSDA National Champions in 2018, Generation adidas Cup Champions in 2019 and 2022) and the Sounders FC First Team has won three titles (MLS Cup Champions in 2016 and 2019, Concacaf Champions League winners in 2022). After finishing second in the Western Conference, the Defiance are eager to combine their success in the development space with results in the postseason.
Sunday’s match against Dynamo 2 presents an opportunity for the Defiance to fully connect that championship ethos at every level of the organization.
“We’re really excited about the Defiance,” Sounders FC GM & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey told KJR on Tuesday. “It’s their chance now to be in the playoffs and we’ll see if they can win a championship this year as well.”
DEFIANCE PLAYOFF TICKETS
We have qualified for the inaugural MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs! Tickets available now for our Western Conference Semifinals match against Houston Dynamo 2 on September 25
Tacoma finished the MLS NEXT Pro regular season with a 14-6-4 record, good for first in the Pacific Division and second in the Western Conference. The Defiance posted the second most goals scored in the league with 57 while boasting the third-best defense with only 25 goals conceded.
On Sunday, the Defiance will host a Houston Dynamo 2 side they’ve already faced twice this season. Tacoma secured a 4-1 win over Houston back on May 1 before falling 1-0 on a late free kick in the away fixture on June 26.
“I think the teams are comparable,” Defiance Head Coach Wade Webber said on 93.3 KJR FM. “It’s anyone’s game. We just hope that the crowd that does come on Sunday is treated to something that’s worth a playoff match – some drama, some excitement, and hopefully some happiness at the end of the evening.”